The Good The Alpine iXA-W404 offers lightning-quick search of iPod and USB libraries and playback of iPod videos directly from the device. Add-on modules allow users to choose the features they want, when they want them. Alpine's double-action encoder is as quick and easy to use as ever.
The Bad Touch-screen controls are unintuitive and, at times, unresponsive. The interface is unnecessarily complicated.
The Bottom Line The Alpine iXA-W404 shows plenty of promise, but we'll wait to see if the touch-screen interface improves with the next generation.
|Alpine iXA-W404||Garmin Nuvi 3597LMTHD||Pioneer AVIC 8000NEX navigation and multimedia receiver||Pioneer AVIC 8000NEX navigation and multimedia receiver||TomTom GO Live 1535M|
Our experiences with Alpine's "mechless" car audio receivers have been mostly positive. So, when we received the iXA-W404, which ups the ante with the inclusion of a larger display and touch sensitivity, we naturally assumed that bigger would be better.
True, the W404's larger screen facilitates the playback of video from capable iPods, but the touch screen interface is unintuitive at times, relying on an iTunes CoverFlow-like paradigm to navigate its menus.
The additional eye candy of the interface seems to have adversely affected the Alpine's responsiveness when compared with its simpler siblings.
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